5 Reasons Why This Is The Most Popular U.S. Destination For Americans This Summer

According to the Portrait of American Travelers study by MMGY Travel Intelligence, Hawaii is the favorite destination this summer for Americans planning to travel within the country.

While Europe still unsurprisingly holds the top spot for international travel interest, Hawaii leads the way domestically, beating out other popular locations like Las Vegas, California, and the Florida Keys.

What Is MMGY Travel Intelligence?

MMGY Travel Intelligence is a “global network of research and data products and services exclusively serving the hospitality, travel, and tourism industries.” The Travel Intelligence branch is the research and data arm of MMGY Global, a marketing firm specializing in the travel and hospitality industry.

woman in hawaii with palm trees

MMGY Travel Intelligence conducts studies on trends within the sector to help inform decision-makers with regard to the current and upcoming interests of travelers, the economic and social factors currently at play, DEI within the industry, and much more.

Their Portrait of American Travelers study covers lodging and accommodations, road trips, culinary travel, diversity in travel, loyalty programs, and social media.

Hawaii has always been a popular destination for Americans and international travelers alike, so it’s no surprise that it was a top contender.

girls in jeep in hawaii

According to the Hawaii Tourism Authority, the number of visitors in the first half of 2023 has jumped more than 13% compared to last year and is nearly on par with the number of visitors in the first half of 2019, showing that interest in Hawaii remains strong after the tourism lull during the pandemic.

Here are 5 reasons why U.S. travelers are flocking to Hawaii in 2023.

1. Cultural Immersion Without The Bureaucracy

While the remoteness of the Hawaiian islands means that you’ll definitely be taking a long-haul flight to get there regardless of where you’re flying from, it’s still a U.S. state, so for American travelers, it doesn’t require the potential hassle of a passport, visa, or border considerations.

hawaii airplane

And not only might traveling to Hawaii feel like venturing to another country overseas because of the flight time required, but also, Hawaii’s unique history and culture can be just as enticing to travelers as exploring a foreign country.

2. Safety

Hawaii is regarded as a generally safe location for tourists, with the most common concerns being those that you need to watch out for in any highly-trafficked location – pick-pocketing and other petty crimes.

hiker girl enjoys the panorama of oahu island and honolulu in hawaii island copy

3. As Always, It’s A Tropical Paradise

Of course, there are a myriad of reasons that Hawaii is always a popular destination.

The ever-enticing prospect of relaxing on a pristine beach, the chance to hone your surfing skills, the possibility of encountering animals in their natural habitat while snorkeling or hiking, and the rare opportunity to see active volcanoes up close are just a few of the many reasons travelers flock to this beautiful tropical paradise.

hot lava fields at sunset in Hawaii

4. Culinary And Cultural Events

While Hawaii offers many rich and enticing experiences at any time of the year, there are lots of events happening on the islands over the next few months specifically that are likely appealing to visitors.

Food lovers may be drawn by the Hawaiʻi Food and Wine Festival happening in October that will showcase Michelin-starred chefs and award-winning winemakers and mixologists in an event that spans three weekends.

Others may find the Kauaʻi Chocolate & Coffee Festival, also taking place in October, more their thing.

hawaii coffee

In September, Aloha Festivals will be taking place across the islands. This annual event showcases the culture of Hawaii, and this year the theme is Piliʻāina, or connection with the land.

5. Exciting, New Places To Stay

In keeping with the flood of visitors this year, a variety of new hotels and resorts have opened across all of the islands.

Travelers may be drawn by Wayfinder Waikiki, which Vogue calls “the most beautiful hotel opening in 2023.” The hotel features local art in the rooms and was built for, in their words, “mindful exploration of this incredible community we call home.”

Waikiki beach in hawaii is surrounded by giant buildings

1 Hotel Hanalei Bay was renovated and reopened this year, focusing on “transformative wellness” and a connection to nature, while Kona Village, a Rosewood Resort, opened just last week in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.

Kona Village offers 150 standalone “hale,” or private accommodations, and “Pacific Rim-to-table” dining experiences. The entire complex of Kona Village is run by solar power, and sustainability initiatives are central to the philosophy of the organization.

How To Avoid The Crowds And Costs

There’s really never a slow season for tourism in Hawaii, but the peak travel time is generally December through February, so you may beat the crowds if you plan to visit this summer or early fall.

Additionally, the weather is generally most favorable in September and October, and because it’s considered a shoulder period of their tourism cycle, plane ticket prices are often lower during these months, as well.

While prices throughout Hawaii have increased ever since the pandemic, you may consider sticking to Oahu for slightly lower costs, while Maui is usually considered to be the most expensive island.

blonde hiker in hawaii mountains

Although it’s no surprise that Hawaii is a popular destination for American travelers this year, the fact that it claimed the top spot is noteworthy and means that travelers should plan upcoming trips carefully to ensure a rich and rewarding experience without being overwhelmed by crowds or high prices driven by travelers with similar interests.

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